Swollen Lymph Nodes

The lymph nodes are small glands in the body that fight infection. The most noticeable lymph nodes are in the:

  • Neck
  • Groin
  • Axilla (armpit)

Minor infections can cause swollen lymph nodes. For example:

  • A cut on the finger can cause the armpit node to swell.
  • An insect bite on the leg might cause a swollen node in the groin.
  • A cold or sore throat may result in swollen lymph nodes in the neck.

Usually, when lymph nodes swell, it just means that they're doing their job. Lymph nodes may stay large and firm long after the infection is over, particularly in younger people. There's nothing that needs to be done about them.

Call the doctor if:

  • There are other signs of infection such as: fever, swelling, tenderness, discharge of pus, or red streaks extending from an injury.
  • The lymph nodes are very large, firm, red and tender.
  • Swelling occurs for no apparent reason and persists for two weeks or longer.
  • Lymph nodes continue to get bigger after the initial infection subsides.
  • Lymph nodes in several areas are swollen.
  • Enlarged lymph nodes appear in areas other than the neck, groin or armpit.